That's the title of Radley Balko's post at Reason. It's subtitled, "The latest developments in the story of America's most industrious medical examiner." Here's the beginning of the report:
Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court granted a new trial to Cory Maye, who is serving a life sentence for shooting and killing Prentiss, Mississippi, police officer Ron Jones during a botched drug raid on Maye's apartment. One of the key prosecution witnesses in Maye's case was Steven Hayne, an overworked, ethically dubious medical examiner who performed the overwhelming majority of criminal autopsies in Mississippi for two decades, from the late 1980s until 2008. Although last week's ruling did not address Hayne's work, it presents an opportunity to consider recent developments in Mississippi's slow evolution toward a more competent death investigation system.
It was through Maye's case that I began reporting on Hayne, which resulted in a 2007 feature story in Reason. I found that he was performing a staggering 1,500 to 1,800 autopsies a year and had given dubious pro-prosecution testimony in several cases. Hayne (who over the years has never responded to my requests for an interview) had also given questionable testimony in civil cases, usually testifying for plaintiffs in medical malpractice and consumer lawsuits. In April 2009 I wrote another feature for Reason about the work Hayne and his sidekick, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, dentist Michael West, did in the Louisiana murder trial of Jimmie Duncan, who was eventually convicted and sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and murdering 2-year-old Haley Oliveaux, the daughter of his then-girlfriend. A video showed West repeatedly pushing a dental mold of Duncan's teeth into Oliveaux's skin, a practice other forensic experts say is at minimum malpractice and may amount to criminal evidence tampering.
In August 2008, Mississippi finally barred Hayne from doing any more autopsies in the state, although he still testifies in court, due to the massive backlog of cases in his care when he was terminated. Several of the state's coroners and prosecutors, along with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, mounted a brief campaign last year to reinstate Hayne, but that effort was defeated by the Mississippi legislature earlier this year.
Related posts are in the forensics index. Some notable posts on medical examiners include: